Thursday was an icky day. No two ways about it!
As I was making my afternoon run, I was dropping one little girl whose parents always meet her at the stop. In fact, one is with her every morning as well, physically picking her up and putting her on the first step of the bus, or lifting her from the bottom step. As yesterday would have it, in the fading light rain, we arrived at her stop with nobody waiting, so she hops off the bus and begins running toward the house and I thought, ‘Good for her! Standing on her own two feet.’
Just as I began to pull away I saw dad sprint from the house with a jacket, throw it over the little girls head, presumably so she wouldn’t melt, and scoop her up to carry her the remaining ten yards to the porch.
I thought, ‘They are so going to make her into a prima dona. Give her some space and let her bloom!’
Then, as I rolled along, I began to ponder the huge variety of parental interaction, or non-, that I witness at my bus stops. On the one hand, there are stops where I see/here from a parent or guardian on a daily basis, and there are other stops where I would not even recognize the parent if they came out. Some stops have obviously well adjusted children from stable and loving environments, while others have decided markings of trouble, turmoil and possibly worse.
My thoughts continue to turn as I begin to ponder our relationship with our Father in Heaven. It would be so easy for each of those children to mold Him in the image of their earthly father… doting, ever-present, smothering or maybe, uncaring, absent, or tyrannical. Forceful disciplinarian. And, how wrong each individual perspective would be, if not balanced with the fulness of who He is as revealed in His Word.
Like a diamond with so many facets and different shades/colors springing from each, our Abba, as revealed in Scripture, has many attributes and ‘sides’ that we must take into account as we get to know Him. It is so easy to embrace the attributes we like, or that we can relate to, but that would leave us with a skewed view if we do not learn and understand those attributes with which we are not familiar.
Lately, I have been pondering the story of the Prodigal son. I love the picture of the father standing in the road yearning and straining to see his son come home, but that picture would have never happened if the father had not been willing to allow the son to leave and make major mistakes. IN fact, if we recognize that the story is the book of Hosea, we realize that the father actually drove him out of the house. Discipline and judgment was necessary, but in Hosea we see Yahweh longs for the return of His people from their well earned exile.
In this past Torah portion, Bechukotai (Lev. 26:3-27:34), we see a Father desiring to bless our obedience, but willing to judge and discipline His children. In fact, His righteousness and Justice demand it!!
How do we see our Father? Do we only see Him as Judge and harsh disciplinarian? Or, do we only view the loving blessings? Do we understand the tension between the two and like grace and law, neither can exist without the other? Can we truly taste sweet if we have never tasted sour?
I think again of my students and the very limited view I have of each parent/guardian. Frankly, I don’t really know them… I can only make some assumptions based on my very limited perspective. I’ve never sat at their dinner table, or ridden in a vehicle for a long trip, or sat on the porch. I haven’t seen them in many different situations to truly understand who they are. Like some incorrect perspectives of our Father, I have an incomplete view of these earthly, imperfect people.
Thank you Father for giving us a complete picture of You in Your Word! You tell us exactly what You expect and exactly how You will respond. There is no shadow or turning with You! Change not and let Your compassions fail not! Help us learn and grow and see/understand the fulness of who You are and what You expect. Amein.